Mark Mariani, '15

B.A. in Philosophy, B.A. in Biblical & Religious Studies

Do you feel like you made any concessions to come to a school that is reasonably priced?
Grove City College was a complete steal for my educational purposes. I knew at the beginning of college that I would pursue graduate studies in Theology, and Grove City College’s education provided a competitive edge for me in the application process. I was accepted by every graduate program to which I applied, and paid less for an undergraduate education than most of my graduate peers.

What are some of the ways you were spiritually engaged while at Grove City College?
Most of my residence halls had weekly Bible studies—some of which I led. Also, I gained strong liturgical sensitivities during my time at Grove City College, which manifested in a variety of ways. My close group of friends would order our prayer around the various liturgical seasons—Advent, Lent, etc. Perhaps the most important spiritual discipline I learned to cultivate during my time at Grove City College was prayer. The Church has accumulated a wide body of liturgical prayer over her long life, and I was fortunate enough to discover this tradition through professors and fellow students.

How would you describe the level of academics you have experienced during your time at Grove City College?
It might be best to describe Grove City College by comparison. I’m currently pursuing graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame. Going in, I expected to be overwhelmed by a difference in quality from the education I received at Grove City College. I could not have been more wrong. The College’s classroom matches up against anyone’s, in my experience. Grove City College’s professors do not receive enough credit for how learned they are. Among my peers in graduate school, I am thankful for the rounded education I received at Grove City College. It provided a foundation that allows me to think about a broad range of subjects with some level of precision.

What are some of the ways that professors ensure that students not only receive information but truly learn and understand how to apply that information?
One thing my professors emphasized was that not all information can be—or even should be—applied. Given that the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, etc.) have become oriented toward material application, there is a strong push in the humanities to articulate their place in the University. My professors emphasized that knowledge and enquiry can be pursued for their own sakes, and they allowed me to pursue my studies without the pressure of turning them into immediate and specific application.

What advice would you give to an incoming student?
For students entering biblical and religious studies, try to take Greek and Hebrew each of your four years. Languages are essential background knowledge for the academic study of the Bible, and you will seriously benefit yourself should your interests take you into seminary, graduate school, or personal reading. For students entering philosophy, re-read every primary text you touch. Philosophy’s explicit virtue is lucid thinking, and many of the texts you will read will be very difficult to understand. Your professors will encourage you to become deep readers but be sure to approach these texts expecting to not understand everything on the first read.

Describe your experience with residence life at Grove City College, particularly freshman year.
I was a resident assistant for three years at Grove City College, so I’ve seen residence life from both sides. A common trope among most students is the claim that they had the best freshman hall. Of course this is silly. Only one freshman hall can be the best, and that, of course, was mine! We had the best personalities that motivated strong friendships and many ridiculous scenarios. As freshman guys, we didn’t take ourselves too seriously and allowed ourselves to have structured fun. Many weekends, we would pull all-nighters filled with light-saber fights, outdoor exploration, drives down to Pittsburgh, and bedtime conversations about free will. It was an excellent environment for young men wishing to pursue leisure that was ordered toward community and friendship, not toward self-destructive habits. 

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